A little known gay businessman about to succeed Tsipras

A little known gay businessman about to succeed Tsipras
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In the aftermath of Alexis Tsipras' surprising resignation, Stefanos Kasselakis emerges as the top contender, overshadowing the previously favored Effie Achtsioglou.

By Nikolaos Stelgias

Greece's primary opposition party, SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance, is searching for new leadership following the resignation of its former Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, after a significant electoral loss in 2023. The initial phase of this selection process took place yesterday.

In a striking move, Stefanos Kasselakis secured the lead in the first round of the SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance elections. He received 45.47% of the votes, translating to 51,615 ballots. Meanwhile, the once-favored Effie Achtsioglou secured 36.21% with 41,098 votes. The party's Central Electoral Committee's head, Yiannis Drosos, announced these results on Sunday evening.

Other participants, Nikos Pappas, Euclid Tsakalotos, and Stefanos Tzoumakas, gained 8.64%, 8.4%, and 1.28%, respectively. Additionally, 1,211 international votes came from supporters in over 20 countries. Given the results, a decisive second round between Kasselakis and Achtsioglou has been scheduled for Sunday.

Previously an under-the-radar figure in Greek politics, Kasselakis, a former banker, made waves with a sudden announcement of his candidacy in late August. His video introduction went viral, emphasizing his unique background and non-traditional path in Greek politics. Notably, Kasselakis stands out as the first openly gay contender for the party leadership, and he candidly shared details of his journey, including his move to the United States and his relationship with his American partner, Tyler McBeth.

However, Kasselakis' tenure at Goldman Sachs, a bank associated with Greece's economic challenges, has drawn some skepticism. Undeterred, Kasselakis highlighted the value of understanding capitalism to critique it effectively.

His modern campaign style and deep financial knowledge offer a fresh perspective, resonating with many, particularly younger voters. However, some seasoned party members still need to be convinced.

In contrast, Effie Achtsioglou, an established political figure and former Minister for Labour, Social Insurance, and Social Solidarity, brings a wealth of experience. Born in 1985, Achtsioglou has consistently played vital roles in Greek politics, shaping various party strategies and influencing labor relations with global institutions.